“Every day, nearly 100,000 young South Asians – a large sports stadium of young people – enter the labour market, almost half of them not on track to find 21st century jobs,” 

Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director

Every year, millions of graduate enters the job market. However, most of them do not fit what the market really needs. Even though with formal college education and training completed, sometimes engineering students are still unable to find the right tech job. This sometimes makes job seeker doubt themselves and become frustrated. They started to think, if good grades can’t win them interviews, what can possibly make a difference during a job search? 

The Soft Skills Gap

When you obtain lots of technical skills, but an absence of soft skills, you are having a soft skills gap. Most of the graduates have theoretical knowledge, but lack the practical exposure needed in the real working world. They’re missing something to accompany their hard skills, which is the so-called “employable skills”. 

“ 85% of one’s success at the work place is attributed to soft skills, and only 15% to technical skills ” 

Harvard Study

Why Soft Skills Matter?

In the workplace, there are various types of interactions happened. On the daily basis, employees have to listen to other colleagues, present their ideas, support one another or delegating the work to someone. All of the activities require communication, management, problem solving and other soft skills — you name it.

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills can be classified as a personality traits and behaviors. Unlike hard skills or technical skills that require knowledge about specific topics, soft skills relate to how you work and enable you to fit in a workplace. The success of most employers determined by the soft skills that they possess as an individual, because it determines how they work within a team and engage with others in certain ways. 

In this world full of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, or in short, people called it VUCA World, the way people work is different from years ago. As a job seeker, it’s essential for you to recognize the importance of soft skills in order to compete and survive. Here are the areas to examine and evaluate:

Top 10 Soft Skills

  1. Creativity
  2. Critical Thinking
  3. Complex Problem-solving
  4. Collaboration
  5. People Management
  6. Decision Making
  7. Negotiation
  8. Service Orientation
  9. Adaptability
  10. Emotional Intelligence

1. Creativity

Most people think that being creative equals being good at designing. However, creativity is more than that. Having a creative mind means that one is breaking the routine and think or do things differently. It can be seen in how you solve problems, choose alternatives or create unique ideas in a new perspective.

2. Critical Thinking

When you learn something, don’t blindly believe it 100%. You have to seek and identify reliable information to make your own judgements without being affected by others. Try to properly analyze a situation and give a rational conclusion. Open-mindedness, analytical thinking and asking thoughtful questions are the examples of critical thinking.

3. Complex Problem-solving

As mentioned above, this world is a VUCA world. Sometimes we have to face complexity which requires us to have strong, complex problem-solving skills. This allows us to see the big picture, to find the source of a problem and find an effective solution.

4. Collaboration

People need to collaborate to achieve the same goal. Coordinating with others requires strong communication skills, empathy, and adaptability to adjust oneself to work with different types of personalities. People with high collaboration skills will be able to recognize their own strength and complement other’s weakness.

5. People Management

Ability to manage people is the most important leadership that most of recruiters are looking for. Those who with good people management skills will be able to assign suitable tasks to employees and create a positive workplace environment. Productivity and efficiency of workers are highly correlated with this skill. 

6. Decision Making

The ability to make judgements and decisions is getting more important as the world getting more uncertain. Things may change and you have no standard to look for. Employees have to make their own decision. Every decision made by an employee will have an impact on the entire company, so decision making skill is very crucial.

7. Negotiation

Every people have their own opinions and ways of thinking, which is why we face disagreement every day. Here’s why the negotiation skill is important to build an effective communication. People with the capability of negotiating with others allows ones to pick a winning strategy to achieve the outcome they want.

8. Service Orientation

Service orientation skill is the ability to recognize and meet other’s need. Sometimes even before those needs are being said. 

9. Adaptability

The only things that are certain in this world is, anything changes. In order to keep up with new environments and competitiveness, make sure to embrace the reality and adapt to your surroundings. Don’t have a close mind nor always wanting to stay in your comfort zone!

10. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to perceive, evaluate, and respond to your own and others’ emotions. Others define this as “other kind of smart”, or the way of adjusting our behavior to cater to the mood of other people.

As the world and workforce continue to rapidly evolve, it’s certain that we have to improve ourselves in order not to fall behind. But the most important thing is to analyze yourself first. Which part of your soft skills require improvement? What are your strengths? Every skill needs practice, and there are plenty of resources that you can access to learn those skills.

After you have mastered all those hard skills and soft skills, make sure that you can express it well in your resume to get a chance of landing an interview.
Read ➡ “How to Write a Professional Resume?|Ultimate Writing Guide & Tips” to learn more!